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ICTV launches IR device, Cedar Point demos CALEA

Sun, 02/09/2003 - 7:00pm
Jeff Baumgartner

Cedar Point Communications Inc. and ICTV Inc. are the latest vendors to chime in about the demonstrations they will be giving at the CableLabs Winter Conference, which runs today through Wednesday in Broomfield, Colo.

ICTV will demonstrate a newly released reference design that pumps interactive applications to "cable-ready" digital TVs without the need for a digital set-top box.

ICTV said the technology, which contains an infrared adapter for a DOCSIS cable modem, uses legacy cable infrastructure, but allows operators to deliver interactive services to existing digital customers without forcing them to use the cable return path.

The adapter, ICTV added, uses the DOCSIS return path to transmit upstream commands for headend-based applications such as video-on-demand and gaming. Commands, sent via a customer's remote control, are transmitted via DOCSIS to the headend, where ICTV's centralized HeadendWare platform processes the request, tunes the user's television to a "hidden" channel and delivers the interactive content.

Offered initially as a USB-connected dongle, the IR device is expected eventually to be integrated with cable modems. ICTV said it intends to license the design to CE manufacturers on a royalty-free basis, and to nominate the technology for inclusion in the next version of the cable-ready DTV standard.

"Currently, there is no return path that enables the delivery of interactive services to that important market of early adopters who will be the first to purchase cable-ready digital TVs," said ICTV CEO Wes Hoffman, in a statement.

ICTV hasn't named any cable modem partners for a potential integration of ICTV's IR technology. Hoffman, though, has experience in that area after he served for a time as president and CEO of HighSpeed Surfing Inc. At one point, Hoffman wore two executive hats, serving as the head of ICTV and on the board of HSS.

On the telephony front, Cedar Point will show off its SAFARI C3 Media Switching System and its ability to implement surveillance functions required by CALEA (Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act) in an IP telephony environment. Cedar Point will also demonstrate a "reverse gateway" element that enables its equipment to handle both VoIP and traditional circuit-switched calls simultaneously.

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